Graspable Extremities Online
The Handlebar Moustache Club
The Pipe Club of London Darts Match

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The fifth of November 2011 was the most jam-packed evening at the Windsor Castle I can remember for ages. This was partly because, it being November, supporters of the popular and successful charity, Movember, were in full-sprout mode, and a swathe of brave lads had consequently arrived at the watering hole, sporting above their kissing tackle what I can only describe – charitably – as jolly good beginners’ efforts in the lip-weasel department. The Sunday Times had sent along a photographer to snap a few of the club’s better-developed smashers and the BBC World Service also had dispatched a young chap with an unpronounceable name and a pink shirt to interview some of our elder moustache statesmen.

The other reason for the packeroo state of the pub was that the Handlebar Club and the Pipe Club of London were due to lock horns upstairs in the restaurant, for their annual darts match.

The Pipists
Rocky and The Pipists open the show...

Alan ‘Rocky’ Rockliffe had brought along a group of pipists, bristling with fancy meerschaums and fine briars, not to mention a welter of aromatic tobaccos.

The match was due to start at 7.30 sharp and in fine Handlebar style we got going at about 9 o’clock or possibly later. This was partly owing to us not wanting to throw darts over the heads of diners who were still chomping, but also because Rocky’s Raffle in aid of the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation was a masterpiece of ragged organisation. Millions of tickets were sold and prize-winners called in the hubbub, though few could hear the announcements and I thought at one point that I had won the collection box, heavy with cash. In the end I walked away with a sketch pad, which I then left on the luggage rack of my train, going home.

The darts match itself was enormous fun, mainly because about sixty men and women tried to force themselves into the tiny upstairs room, which will accommodate only about five thin people holding their breath.

Decidedly dapper - The Handlebars
...of a decidedly dapper double-bill with The Handlebars

Tables and chairs were heaved aside and the proceedings began in the crush, though I hadn’t a clue what was happening and some people appeared to be members of both teams.

My own dart-throwing effort resulted in two of the ‘arrers’ striking the board (the ‘round black thing’, as it was helpfully described to me by a darts expert) sideways on and falling on the floor.

Tom can't quite see the point
Tom can't quite see the point

The third dart hit King Edward VII in his cummerbund (the picture on the wall, that is).

Glen was the man with the chalk, taking some numbers away from some other numbers and somehow in the confusion the Handlebar Club beat the Pipe Club (yet again).

Redz's winning Double-Fourteen
Redz celebrates his winning Double-Fourteen
Secretary Steve Parsons looked very pleased with his team’s effort but, it being almost tomorrow, had to make his excuses to get back to darkest Kent before cockcrow.
Steve looked pleased
Steve Parsons looked pleased
Receiving the Trophies
Receiving the Trophies
Anyway, we look forward to thrashing the pipists again next year and raising a further fortune for Rocky’s excellent charity, the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. the end
Tom Cutlerright quote